Preventive Teaching & Remedial Teaching
As you read through the Bible you encounter both preventive teaching and remedial teaching. The Bible tells us what to do once we discover we are guilty of sin: repentance and reliance on the forgiveness offered by God through Christ. That is remedial, teaching you what to do after you have sinned.
There is also preventive teaching; that is, instruction from God you take in, that builds and maintains your character in such a way, as you adhere to that instruction and keep your heart right with God, it keeps you from sin!
There is considerable discussion in the news today about health care. It has made us well aware of the value of prevention vs. remedial health care, though both are necessary. Prevention simply means taking care of ourselves with such good discipline, all other things being equal, we don’t get sick; or we don’t get sick as much. We work every day on maintaining good health.
Remedial medicine means after you get sick, health professions are called in to diagnose, manage and cure if possible. And sometimes as health care professionals engage in remedial medicine, they will say something like: “We wish we had caught this earlier.”
I would think most of us are convinced prevention is preferred. I would rather not get sick. If I get sick, I certainly want a remedy. But my preference is to become engaged in wise measures of prevention. Carry this over into spiritual life.
It should be our aim to avoid sin! The idea of doing little or nothing about spiritual discipline, and then when you sin – rush into prayer and get forgiveness, is not an honorable plan! This is very popular but not honorable. It is offensive to God – when people never really commit themselves to Him . . . they enjoy their sin, but then “go to church,” “take the Lord’s Supper,” or “say a little prayer,” thinking they are clear now . . . but go right back into their sin.
It is living in opposition to God most of the time, but then expecting Him to provide the remedy when they have an occasional spiritual or emotional moment.
Please understand, if and when you sin, you should react by seeking God’s forgiveness, accompanied by genuine repentance. But there must be a vigorous intention to prevent sin in your life. Prevention must be a priority. Building your spiritual discipline and growing in the activity of your faith – is absolutely essential, to be a faithful child of God.
Especially to Christians I am going to argue à Don’t just wait for sin to happen . . . do something now to prevent it. Now read Psalm 119 and mark out in your Bible or list on paper – preventive strategies to avoid sin!
By Warren E. Berkley
The Front Page
From Expository Files 16.11; November 2009